Showing posts with label reparations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reparations. Show all posts

Friday, June 03, 2022

California Reparations Task Force Releases Interim Report Detailing Harms of Slavery and Systemic Discrimination on African Americans

 As part of California’s historic Assembly Bill 3121 (AB 3121), the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans (Reparations Task Force) today released an interim report providing an in-depth overview of the harms inflicted on African Americans in California and across the nation due to the ongoing legacy of slavery and systemic discrimination. The interim report includes a preliminary set of recommendations to the California Legislature and a final report is expected to be issued in 2023. The Reparations Task Force is a first-in-the-nation effort by a state government to study slavery, its effects throughout American history, and the compounding harms that the United States and Californian governments have inflicted upon African Americans.

“Without accountability, there is no justice. For too long, our nation has ignored the harms that have been — and continue to be — inflicted on African Americans in California and across the country,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta. “California was not a passive actor in perpetuating these harms. We must double down on our efforts to address discrimination in our state and nation and take a hard look at our own history, including at the California Department of Justice. This interim report is a historic step by the State of California to acknowledge the insidious effects of slavery and ongoing systemic discrimination, recognize the state's failings, and move toward rectifying the harm. I commend the Reparations Task Force for their commitment to this effort and for being a model for partners across the nation. I urge every American to read the task force’s report and join with us in recommitting ourselves to justice.”

 “It has been an honor and a privilege to supervise the release of this monumental interim report,” said Task Force Chair Kamilah Moore. “A year-long effort, this 500+ page report chronicles the harms against the African American community, starting with the transatlantic slave trade, the institution of U.S. chattel slavery, Emancipation and the broken promise of Reconstruction, genocidal Jim Crow, to contemporary harms; it is the most extensive government-issued report on the African American community since the Kerner Commission in 1968. Thus, it is my hope that people in California and across the United States utilize this report as an educational and organizing tool, as this interim report exceeds expectations in substantiating the claim for reparations for the African American/American Freedmen community on the municipal, state and federal level."

“It is a privilege to sit on a task force that has the moral obligation of fulfilling the task of developing measures that will right the wrongs which were collectively perpetuated against the African American community solely on the basis of the color of our skin,” said Task Force Vice Chair Dr. Amos C. Brown. "Other groups that have suffered exclusion, oppression, and downright destruction of human existence have received reparations, and we should have no less."

The institution of slavery is inextricably woven into the establishment, history, and prosperity of the United States. Constitutionally and statutorily sanctioned from 1619 to 1865, slavery deprived more than four million Africans and their descendants of life, liberty, citizenship, cultural heritage, and economic opportunity. Following the abolition of slavery, government entities at the federal, state, and local levels continued to perpetuate, condone, and often profit from practices that brutalized African Americans and excluded them from meaningful participation in society. This legacy of slavery and racial discrimination has resulted in debilitating economic, educational, and health hardships that are uniquely experienced by African Americans. 

AB 3121 charges the Reparations Task Force with studying the institution of slavery and its lingering negative effects on living African Americans, including descendants of persons enslaved in the United States and on society. The legislation, enacted on September 30, 2020, requires the task force to also recommend appropriate remedies of compensation, rehabilitation, and restitution for African Americans, with a special consideration for descendants of persons enslaved in the United States. The Reparations Task Force’s work is ongoing and the interim report primarily focuses on identifying and summarizing the myriad badges and incidents of slavery. The interim report builds on months of public hearings, hours of expert, public, and witness testimony, and numerous records submitted to the task force. 

In the interim report released today, the Reparations Task Force — over the course of 13 chapters — provides an accounting of many of the harms of slavery and systemic discrimination in California and across the nation. The interim report offers a synthesis of many of the relevant issues, ranging from enslavement and government sanctioned residential segregation to environmental injustice and political disenfranchisement. Some of the key findings noted in the interim report include:

  • In order to maintain slavery, colonial and American governments adopted white supremacy beliefs and passed laws in order to maintain a system that stole the labor and intellect of people of African descent;
  • In California, racial violence against African Americans began during slavery, continued through the 1920s, as groups like the Ku Klux Klan permeated local governments and police departments, and peaked after World War II, as African Americans attempted to move into white neighborhoods;
  • Due to residential segregation and compared to white Americans, African Americans are more likely to live in worse quality housing and in neighborhoods that are polluted, with inadequate infrastructure;
  • American government at all levels, including in California, has historically criminalized African Americans for the purposes of social control, and to maintain an economy based on exploited Black labor; and
  • Government laws and policies perpetuating badges of slavery have helped white Americans accumulate wealth, while erecting barriers which prevented African Americans from doing the same. These harms compounded over generations, resulting in an enormous gap in wealth between white and African Americans today in the nation and in California.

Additional information about the work of the Reparations Task Force and the ongoing public hearing process is available here:

A copy of the interim report is available here.


Wednesday, March 30, 2022

California task force votes to limit reparations to slave descendants

California’s first-in-the-nation task force on reparations has decided to limit state compensation to the descendants of free and enslaved Black people who were in the U.S. in the 19th century, narrowly rejecting a proposal to include all Black people regardless of lineage.

The vote Tuesday split 5-4, and the hours-long debate was at times testy and emotional. Near the end, the Rev. Amos Brown, president of the San Francisco branch of the NAACP and vice chair of the task force, pleaded with the commission to move ahead with a clear definition of who would be eligible for restitution.

“Please, please, please I beg us tonight, take the first step,” he said. ”We've got to give emergency treatment to where it is needed."

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation creating the two-year reparations task force in 2020, making California the only state to move ahead with a study and plan, with a mission to study the institution of slavery and its harms and to educate the public about its findings.


Saturday, March 20, 2021

Evanston Illinois: First US city to offer reparations for Black Americans

The city of Evanston, which is north of Chicago, once one of the most segregated cities in America has become the first place to offer the reparations. $25,000 payments to eligible residents will begin this spring.

This is due to the work of Robin Rue Simmons, an alderman in Evanston's 5th Ward, who introduced the reparations legislation.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Amalgamated Bank endorses HR 40 and reparations

Amalgamated Bank, the largest union-owned bank in the U.S. released a statement on Wednesday announcing that it backs reparations for Black Americans, becoming the first major American bank to do so.

Last year, Amalgamated Bank doubled-down on its commitment to racial justice initiatives. Catapulted by the cruel murder of George Floyd, the bank issued a statement supporting Black Lives Matter and publicly committed to 10 concrete actions to support racial justice, including the formation of a Racial Justice Task Force to build a more inclusive work environment. These efforts are built on the foundation that Amalgamated is America’s socially responsible bank and seeks to be a leader among its peers in creating a more just, sustainable world.

Today, Amalgamated Bank announced its endorsement of HR 40, which is calling upon the Federal Government to form a Commission to explore reparations for African Americans. As of now, we are the first major U.S. bank to endorse HR 40, but are hopeful we are not the last.

While Amalgamated’s nearly one hundred-year-old legacy of social action is clearly demonstrated, we acknowledge that there is more for all of us to do to stem the tide of complacency and call for higher levels of justice for all people.

Amalgamated also acknowledges the deep roots connecting the financial sector to the American slave economy. Banks and lenders played a key role in not only financing slavery, but in excluding Black people from financial resources by redlining, withholding investment into black-owned businesses, predatory lending practices, engaging in predatory pay day lending, and charging exorbitant fees that trap people in a downward spiral of debt.

Broadly speaking, the concept of reparations for gross violations against human rights is not new. Reparations have been used in numerous countries to attempt to achieve justice for past violations against specific groups of people. Although these strategies haven’t always been executed perfectly, they have been one of the key ways for governments to make amends for past violations, apologize, and restore equity among impacted communities.

We believe the commission created through H.R. 40 is an important first step towards achieving racial justice. The work shouldn’t stop there. Amalgamated believes there must be real, tangible remedies for African Americans and an explicit acknowledgement and apology by the Federal government for slavery’s role in creating our modern economy. We believe that this isn’t just morally right but is required for the country to truly move forward and build the thriving, equitable economy we clearly need.

That is why Amalgamated is proud to announce our support for H.R. 40 and reparations. We invite other banks and financial companies to do the same.

In addition to Amalgamated Bank’s endorsement of H.R. 40, the Amalgamated Foundation will continue its commitment to racial justice and expand that to strategies in support of reparations over the coming months.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee reintroduces Reparations Bill

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas recently reintroduced a bill that is the first step toward giving reparations to Black Americans whose lives have been impacted by the slavery of their ancestors.

Lee recently introduced H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, to the House Floor.

The legislation examines the specific role slavery played in creating inequality in the lives of Black Americans, as well as recommend a formal apology from the U.S. government.

“Today there are more people at the table –– more activists, more scholars, more CEOs, more state and local officials, and more members of Congress,” Lee said in a press release. “However, despite this progress and the election of the first American President of African descent, the legacy of slavery lingers heavily in this nation.

“In short, the Commission aims to study the impact of slavery and continuing discrimination against African Americans, resulting directly and indirectly from slavery to segregation to the desegregation process and the present day. The Commission would also make recommendations concerning any apology and compensation to begin the long-delayed process of atonement for slavery,” she said.

Lee also acknowledged the lack of financial restitution as the main factor in many of the issues the Black community faces today.

“These economic issues are the root cause for many critical issues in the African-American community today, such as education, health care, and criminal justice policy, including policing practices. The call for reparations represents a commitment to entering a constructive dialogue on the role of slavery and racism in shaping present-day conditions in our community and American society.”

Reparations legislation was first introduced in the House by the late Representative John Conyers in 1989. Conyers argued for reparations throughout his final years in Congress before he retired in 2017. Conyers died in 2019.

When he retired, Lee took up the torch to sponsor the bill and step up her campaign after the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in 2020.

“I just simply ask, why not and why not now? If not all of us, then who?” she said, per a report by the Detroit News. “God bless us as we pursue the final justice for those who lived in slavery for 250 years in the United States of America.”


Saturday, October 03, 2020

California to Study Reparations for Black Americans

California will develop detailed proposals for granting reparations to Black Americans under a new law.

The legislation, which was authored by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, a Democrat representing San Diego who is chair of California's Legislative Black Caucus, does not commit to any specific payment. Instead, it establishes a nine-person task force that will study the impact of slavery on Black people in California and recommend to the Legislature what kind of compensation should be provided, who should receive it and what form it will take.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the law on Wednesday.

The task force must give its recommendations to the state Legislature one year after its first meeting.

The law would not limit the reparations to slavery.

But it does require the task force to give special consideration for black people who are descendants of slaves.

Similar proposals have been introduced in Congress for decades but have never passed.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

U.S. Conference of Mayors expresses support for reparations

Last month at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ (USCM) 88th Annual Meeting, the Conference’s Executive Committee unanimously passed a resolution in support of the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act (H.R. 40/S. 1083), introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). It was one of the first acts of the USCM under new President and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. The mayor has pledged to put forward an ambitious agenda entitled American Breakthrough, and this reparations legislation is an important building block of that effort.
President Fischer recently sent a letter to Sen. Booker and Rep. Jackson Lee, reiterating support for the bill and talking about the importance of breaking down systemic barriers to justice and equality. In the letter, President Fischer writes:
“We recognize and support your legislation as a concrete first step in our larger reckoning as a nation, and a next step to guide the actions of both federal and local leaders who have promised to do better by our Black residents.
“Our support of your bicameral legislation is not just an endorsement – it is a resolution. We have resolved to do better for our Black residents by promoting equal rights and opportunity through the implementation of policy reforms at the local level, as well as through our advocacy for action at the federal level.
“This year, the nation’s mayors will work diligently on a national platform known as an American Breakthrough, which will be informed by mayor-led work groups on critical interconnected challenges: Police Reform and Racial Justice; Guiding the COVID-19 Response and Health Equity; Eliminating Poverty; Dismantling Systemic Racism; and Supporting Equitable Economic Recovery. We are committed to doing our role in local government to disrupt systemic racism, which inhibits the realization of a nation of liberty, prosperity, and justice for all.”
The full letter can be found here.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Illinois City To Use Cannabis Revenue For Reparations Fund For African-American Residents

The City of Evanston, Illinois is taking on a controversial topic – reparations.

Due to the efforts of 5th Ward Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, Evanston will start putting money in a fund to address the north suburban city’s decline in African-American residents, among other issues. The fund will be financed by revenue from cannabis – which becomes legal for recreational use in Illinois on Jan. 1.

The objective is to help African-Americans thrive in Evanston. Such a fund for reparations is a step that no other city in the country has accomplished.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Princeton seminary will pay $27M in slavery reparations

Princeton Theological Seminary Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed the implementation of a multi-year action plan to repent for its ties to slavery. The approved series of new initiatives, ranging from increased student financial assistance to curriculum changes to added support for the Center for Black Church Studies, is a direct response to a report the Seminary published in October 2018 after conducting a two-year historical audit.
“The report was an act of confession,” says John White, dean of students and vice president of student relations. “These responses are intended as acts of repentance that will lead to lasting impact within our community. This is the beginning of the process of repair that will be ongoing,” says White.

White served as chair of the historical audit recommendations task force, which included trustees, faculty, administrators, students, and alumni, who led a deliberative process to provide opportunities for the campus community to discuss and respond to the audit report. The task force hosted more than 25 events, meetings, and conversations on the campus in the previous academic year. Feedback gathered from students, faculty, administrators, and alumni was incorporated in the recommendations presented to the Seminary’s board. The Board of Trustees also conducted a year-long process of study.  

“From the beginning,” says White, “the Board of Trustees has encouraged a thorough process of understanding our history that would lead to meaningful response.”

With an immediate rollout of the plan and continuation through 2024, the Seminary intends to make meaningful and lasting change with the more than 20 approved initiatives, including: 
  • Offering 30 new scholarships, valued at the cost of tuition plus $15,000, for students who are descendants of slaves or from underrepresented groups  
  • Hiring a full-time director of the Center for Black Church Studies
  • Hiring a new faculty member whose research and teaching will give critical attention to African American experience and ecclesial life
  • Changes in the Seminary curriculum, including a required cross-cultural component and integrating into the first-year curriculum for every master’s student sustained academic engagement with the implications of the historical audit
  • Designating five doctoral fellowships for students who are descendants of slaves or from underrepresented groups
  • Naming the library after Theodore Sedgwick Wright, the first African American to attend and graduate from Princeton Seminary
  • Naming the Center for Black Church Studies after Betsey Stockton a prominent African American educator in Princeton during the antebellum North and a Presbyterian missionary in the Sandwich Islands (present-day Hawaii). Prior to gaining freedom, Stockton was owned by the chair of Princeton Seminary’s Board of Trustees.
  • Enhancing community partnerships and supporting historically disenfranchised communities in and around Princeton
  • Ensuring every member of the Princeton Seminary community understands its history
A committee has been established to oversee the implementation of the plan and will regularly report progress to the board.  The program costs for the responses represent a commitment of more than $1 million annually on an ongoing basis. To sustain this programming in perpetuity, $27.6 million will be reserved in the endowment.
“The Seminary’s ties to slavery are a part of our story. It is important to acknowledge that our founders were entangled with slavery and could not envision a fully integrated society,” says Princeton Seminary President M. Craig Barnes. “We are committed to telling the truth.  We did not want to shy away from the uncomfortable part of our history and the difficult conversations that revealing the truth would produce.”
The historical audit uncovered that the Seminary did not own slaves and its buildings were not constructed with slave labor. Yet, the Seminary benefited from the slave economy, both through investments in Southern banks in the mid-19th century and from donors who profited from slavery. Also, founding faculty and leaders used slave labor at some point in their lives. Several of the first professors and board members were deeply involved in the American Colonization Society, which advocated sending free blacks to Liberia.
“Our response to the historical audit is the beginning of our community’s journey of repair as we seek to redress historic wrongs and to help the Seminary be more faithful to our mission as a school of the church, both now and in the years to come,” says Barnes. “We are taking tangible action to write a new chapter in our story.”

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Sheila Jackson Lee explains her bill #HR40: Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals

Watch Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX 18th Distric)t explain her bill #HR40-Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. The Congresswoman explains why she decided to introduce this very important bill and it's next steps.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Mitch McConnell: Reparations For Slavery Not A Good Idea

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday rejected reparations for slavery in part because it would be hard to know whom to pay. Watch his statements below:

Saturday, June 15, 2019

House Judiciary Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on Legislation to Study Slavery Reparations

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties has issued a press release about a hearing it will hold a hearing on H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act which was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas.

Read that release below:

June 19th: House Judiciary Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on H.R. 40, Legislation to Study Slavery Reparations

Washington, D.C. – On June 19th at 10:00 a.m., the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties will hold a hearing on H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. The purpose of the hearing is to examine, through open and constructive discourse, the legacy of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, its continuing impact on the community and the path to restorative justice.   

Witnesses:       Ta-Nehisi Coates, Distinguished Writer in Residence, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University
Danny Glover, Actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the U.N. Decade for People of African Descent
Katrina Browne, Documentarian: Traces of the Trade
Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, Episcopal Bishop of Maryland
Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Economist and Political Commentator
Professor Eric J. Miller, Loyola Marymount University
Republican witnesses to be announced      

Date:               June 19, 2019

Time:               10:00 a.m.

Location:         2141 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington D.C.

Livestream:     The hearing will stream live here

Background: H.R. 40, the “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act,” would create a commission to study the history of slavery in the United States and in the American colonies from 1619 to 1865; the role of the federal and state governments in supporting slavery; federal and state laws that discriminated against the descendants of African slaves; other forms of discrimination against the descendants of African slaves; and the lingering effects of slavery on African Americans.  The commission would also make recommendations as to appropriate ways to educate the American public about its fin
116th Congress

Friday, April 12, 2019

Georgetown Students Vote to Pay Reparations

As debate over reparations heats us, Georgetown University students voted Thursday by a large margin to impose a fee on themselves to pay reparations for the university's ties to slavery.

The student election commission announced the results early this morning. The measure attracted just under two-thirds of voters and passed, 2,541 to 1,304.

The measure calls for the university to start with a fee of $27.20 per semester in fall of 2020, "in honor of the 272 people sold by Georgetown," referring to the slaves sold by Jesuits to finance the university in its early days. The resolution says that proceeds from the fund "will be allocated for charitable purposes directly benefiting the descendants of the GU272 and other persons once enslaved by the Maryland Jesuits -- with special consideration given to causes and proposals directly benefiting those descendants still residing in proud and underprivileged communities,"

The proposed fee would be a tiny fraction of the price of attending Georgetown, where tuition alone is more than $55,000 this year.

While the measure is not binding on the university, the vote comes as Democratic presidential candidates have elevated the national debate over reparations. The vote also marks a potential shift in higher education.

In recent years, many colleges -- including Georgetown -- have conducted studies of their ties to slavery. Those studies have led to publications, academic conferences and monuments that honor the labor of slaves.

But the vote by Georgetown is the first move to have students pay reparations.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

National African American Reparations Commission Applauds Statements of Interest by 2020 Presidential Contenders

The National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC) applauds several Presidential contenders for their recent expressed interest in reparations and calls on all the candidates to prioritize reparatory justice as an issue of importance to Black voters in the weeks and months ahead.
NAARC is also calling on all 2020 candidates, as well as other lawmakers, to support HR40, the reparations bill authored by former U.S. Cong. John Conyers, which has languished in Congress since 1989. HR-40, which was reintroduced in the 115th Congress, was developed in consultation with NAARC.
It calls for establishing a federal commission to study reparations proposals for African Americans that would repair the horrific socio-economic damages caused by the enslavement and generations of racially exclusive/discriminatory policies and practices post-emancipation.
The current reparations conversation is especially relevant in light of the fact that 2019 marks the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of Africans in chains in Virginia, which opened the era of slavery, one of the most sordid chapters in U.S. history.
"In general, the recent statements by presidential candidates are a positive development," said Dr. Ron Daniels, Convener of NAARC and President of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW). "They reflect an increasing body of scholarship that definitively draws the connection between the enslavement of Africans and the persistent wealth-gap and underdevelopment of Black America."
Candidates are also responding to the growing, multifaceted reparations movement in this country and to the fact that in recent public opinion polls, reparations now enjoys the support of a majority of African Americans as well as from a growing percentage of young white millennial voters.
"NAARC stands ready to educate and orient candidates and legislators on the definition, background, process, internationally accepted norms and historical precedents for reparations to repair damages inflicted on peoples and nations. Hopefully, this will enrich the public dialogue on this vital issue," added Dr. Daniels.
NAARC was established in April 2015 at a National/International Reparations Summit convened by IBW in New York City. The nonpartisan Commission is comprised of distinguished Black leaders from across the U.S. in the fields of law, education, public health, economic development, religion, labor, civil and human rights.
For decades, the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America Americans (NCOBRA) has been a leading force advancing the struggle for reparations in the U.S. Kamm Howard, National Co-Chairperson of NCOBRA and a NAARC Commissioner, welcomes the surge in support for reparations by the presidential candidates but insists that the discussion and debate be centered around reparations as full repair. "The international standard holds that reparations 'must wipe out all consequences' of the wrongful acts committed against enslaved Africans," said Howard.
"To get us to full repair, policies programs and practices must be developed to produce the following outcomes: cessation and guarantees of non-repetition, restitution, compensation, satisfaction, and rehabilitation. These are the intended outcomes of HR 40. The candidates, some of whom are Senators, should craft a Senate companion bill. This can be done now if they are serious about their support for reparations."
To help frame the public discourse and as a guide for action by governmental and private entities, NAARC has devised a comprehensive and detailed Ten-Point Reparations Program that addresses the issues of repair and restitution. The creation of a National Reparations Trust Fund is among the proposals outlined in the NAARC's Reparations Program. The Authority would receive grants of funds, scholarships, land and other forms of restitution to benefit the collective advancement of Black America. It would be comprised of a cross-section of credible representatives of reparations, civil rights, and human rights, labor, faith, educational, civic and fraternal organizations and institutions.
The Authority will be empowered to establish subsidiary trust funds to administer projects and initiatives in the areas of culture, economic development, education, health and other fields as deemed appropriate based on the demands of the Reparations Program.
To increase public awareness of the Program, NAARC has convened initial Hearings and Town Hall Meetings in Atlanta and New Orleans and plans to hold additional sessions in a number of cities across the country.
Pan Africanist and international movements in support of slavery reparations have emerged across the globe, from the Caribbean and Latin America to AfricaAsia, and Australia. In that regard, it is significant to note that NAARC works closely with the CARICOM Reparations Commission (CRC) which is claiming reparations from the former European colonial powers for Native genocide and African enslavement.
Advocates for reparatory justice explain that the issue covers both the past and the present and it contains the potential to defend and protect American democracy at a time when it is being threatened by a rise in white nationalism, autocracy and oligarchy. In a recent meeting, NAARC Commissioners also took note of the fact there are external forces that seem intent on sowing confusion within the American electorate to suppress the Black vote to favor the ascendancy of these reactionary forces.
NAARC Commissioner Dr. Iva Carruthers, General Secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference stressed that, "reparations is a process that affirms the humanity of people of African descent and the healing of communities from trans-generational trauma. It is unquestionably the right and just thing to do. Reparations also carries a gravitas that the country as a whole can benefit from as it searches for a moral compass to guide it through these turbulent times which are exacerbated by deeply entrenched bigotry, institutionalized racism and structural economic disparities."
"As the richest country on the planet, America has more than enough resources to sustain a comprehensive, national reparations program," says NAARC Commissioner Dr. Julianne Malveaux, noted political-economist and educator. "America needs to accept its moral responsibility to repair and rectify the lingering damages of African enslavement and racially discriminatory policies after Emancipation."
Dr. Ron Daniels concluded that "reparations is as relevant to our political agenda as any other issue. Finally receiving our '40 acres and a mule' is a matter of 'national emergency' when dealing with the profound crises afflicting marginalized Black communities across this nation. The time for reparatory initiatives based upon the principles of justice and equality is now, and NAARC calls on all of the 2020 presidential candidates to endorse and vigorously support HR-40 as a vehicle to move the United States towards redressing one of the original sins of its founding."
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Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Rep. Jim Clyburn dismisses the idea of reparations

The highest ranking African-American member of Congress has major problems with two prominent ideas to address racial disparities in the economy: one that comes from his fellow Democrats and another championed by a Republican African-American senator from his home state.

In an interview, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn teed off on both reparations and “opportunity zones,” complaining that the former is impractical and the latter is unhelpful.

“I think pure reparations would be impossible to implement,” said Clyburn, D-Columbia. “But we can deal with the issue (of racial inequality) if we just admit, first of all, that it exists and then come up with some straightforward ways to deal with it.”

Clyburn was more blunt about new “opportunity zones,” an initiative U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., pushed to include in the 2017 tax overhaul. It gives tax breaks to developers investing in low-income communities.

Read more: SC’s Clyburn pans reparations, ‘opportunity zones’ as unable to address racial inequality.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Ta-Nehisi Coates believes Harvard should pay reparations for it's ties to slavery

While giving a keynote address at a conference, entitled “Universities and Slavery: Bound By History” at Harvard University, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates discussed reparations.

Coates, a known proponent of reparations made the case to the audience that progress on racial issues requires institutions to repay their debts to enslaved people.

“I think every single one of these universities needs to make reparations,” he said to wide applause. “I don’t know how you get around that, I just don’t. I don’t know how you conduct research that shows that your very existence is rooted in a great crime, and just say ‘well,’ shrug—and maybe at best say ‘I’m sorry’—and you walk away. And I think you need to use the language of ‘reparation.’ I think it’s very, very important to actually say that word, to acknowledge that something was done in these institutions.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Veteran Congressman, John Conyers Re-Introduces Legislation for Reparations

In January, 87-year-old lawmaker John Conyers re-introduced updated legislation for the 115th Congress. Now titled The Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, it's similar to the earlier measure but has been amended to reflect expanded legal and societal discourse about the Transatlantic Slave Trade and reparations.

Read that proposed legislation below:

1st Session
H. R. 40

To address the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery, its subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.

January 3, 2017
Mr. Conyers (for himself, Mr. Serrano, Mr. Al Green of Texas, Ms. Norton, Mr. Hastings, Mr. Ellison, Mrs. Beatty, Mr. Lewis of Georgia, Mr. Nadler, Mr. Danny K. Davis of Illinois, Mr. Clay, Mr. GutiĆ©rrez, Mr. Cohen, Mr. Cummings, Mr. Meeks, Ms. Schakowsky, Ms. Jackson Lee, and Ms. Lee) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

To address the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery, its subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
This Act may be cited as the “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act”.

(a) Findings.—The Congress finds that—
(1) approximately 4,000,000 Africans and their descendants were enslaved in the United States and colonies that became the United States from 1619 to 1865;

(2) the institution of slavery was constitutionally and statutorily sanctioned by the Government of the United States from 1789 through 1865;

(3) the slavery that flourished in the United States constituted an immoral and inhumane deprivation of Africans’ life, liberty, African citizenship rights, and cultural heritage, and denied them the fruits of their own labor;

(4) a preponderance of scholarly, legal, community evidentiary documentation and popular culture markers constitute the basis for inquiry into the on-going effects of the institution of slavery and its legacy of persistent systemic structures of discrimination on living African-Americans and society in the United States; and

(5) following the abolition of slavery the United States Government, at the Federal, State, and local level, continued to perpetuate, condone and often profit from practices that continued to brutalize and disadvantage African-Americans, including share cropping, convict leasing, Jim Crow, redlining, unequal education, and disproportionate treatment at the hands of the criminal justice system; and

(6) as a result of the historic and continued discrimination, African-Americans continue to suffer debilitating economic, educational, and health hardships including but not limited to; having nearly 1,000,000 Black people incarcerated; an unemployment rate more than twice the current White unemployment rate; and an average of less than 116 of the wealth of White families, a disparity which has worsened, not improved over time.

(b) Purpose.—The purpose of this Act is to establish a commission to study and develop Reparation proposals for African-Americans as a result of—
(1) the institution of slavery, including both the Trans-Atlantic and the domestic “trade” which existed from 1565 in colonial Florida and from 1619 through 1865 within the other colonies that became the United States, and which included the Federal and State governments which constitutionally and statutorily supported the institution of slavery;

(2) the de jure and de facto discrimination against freed slaves and their descendants from the end of the Civil War to the present, including economic, political, educational, and social discrimination;

(3) the lingering negative effects of the institution of slavery and the discrimination described in paragraphs (1) and (2) on living African-Americans and on society in the United States;

(4) the manner in which textual and digital instructional resources and technologies are being used to deny the inhumanity of slavery and the crime against humanity of people of African descent in the United States;

(5) the role of Northern complicity in the Southern based institution of slavery;

(6) the direct benefits to societal institutions, public and private, including higher education, corporations, religious and associational;

(7) and thus, recommend appropriate ways to educate the American public of the Commission’s findings;

(8) and thus, recommend appropriate remedies in consideration of the Commission’s findings on the matters described in paragraphs (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), and (6); and

(9) submit to the Congress the results of such examination, together with such recommendations.

(a) Establishment.—There is established the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the “Commission”).

(b) Duties.—The Commission shall perform the following duties:
(1) Identify, compile and synthesize the relevant corpus of evidentiary documentation of the institution of slavery which existed within the United States and the colonies that became the United States from 1619 through 1865. The Commission’s documentation and examination shall include but not be limited to the facts related to—
(A) the capture and procurement of Africans;

(B) the transport of Africans to the United States and the colonies that became the United States for the purpose of enslavement, including their treatment during transport;

(C) the sale and acquisition of Africans as chattel property in interstate and intrastate commerce;

(D) the treatment of African slaves in the colonies and the United States, including the deprivation of their freedom, exploitation of their labor, and destruction of their culture, language, religion, and families; and

(E) the extensive denial of humanity, sexual abuse and the chatellization of persons.

(2) The role which the Federal and State governments of the United States supported the institution of slavery in constitutional and statutory provisions, including the extent to which such governments prevented, opposed, or restricted efforts of formerly enslaved Africans and their descendents to repatriate to their homeland.

(3) The Federal and State laws that discriminated against formerly enslaved Africans and their descendents who were deemed United States citizens from 1868 to the present.

(4) The other forms of discrimination in the public and private sectors against freed African slaves and their descendents who were deemed United States citizens from 1868 to the present, including redlining, educational funding discrepancies, and predatory financial practices.

(5) The lingering negative effects of the institution of slavery and the matters described in paragraphs (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), and (6) on living African-Americans and on society in the United States.

(6) Recommend appropriate ways to educate the American public of the Commission’s findings.

(7) Recommend appropriate remedies in consideration of the Commission’s findings on the matters described in paragraphs (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), and (6). In making such recommendations, the Commission shall address among other issues, the following questions:
(A) How such recommendations comport with international standards of remedy for wrongs and injuries caused by the State, that include full reparations and special measures, as understood by various relevant international protocols, laws, and findings.

(B) How the Government of the United States will offer a formal apology on behalf of the people of the United States for the perpetration of gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity on African slaves and their descendants.

(C) How Federal laws and policies that continue to disproportionately and negatively affect African-Americans as a group, and those that purpetuate the lingering effects, materially and psycho-social, can be eliminated.

(D) How the injuries resulting from matters described in paragraphs (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), and (6) can be reversed and provide appropriate policies, programs, projects and recommendations for the purpose of reversing the injuries.

(E) How, in consideration of the Commission’s findings, any form of compensation to the descendants of enslaved African is calculated.

(F) What form of compensation should be awarded, through what instrumentalities and who should be eligible for such compensation.

(G) How, in consideration of the Commission’s findings, any other forms of rehabilitation or restitution to African descendants is warranted and what the form and scope of those measures should take.

(c) Report To Congress.—The Commission shall submit a written report of its findings and recommendations to the Congress not later than the date which is one year after the date of the first meeting of the Commission held pursuant to section 4(c).

(a) Number And Appointment.—(1) The Commission shall be composed of 13 members, who shall be appointed, within 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, as follows:
(A) Three members shall be appointed by the President.

(B) Three members shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

(C) One member shall be appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate.

(D) Six members shall be selected from the major civil society and reparations organizations that have historically championed the cause of reparatory justice.

(2) All members of the Commission shall be persons who are especially qualified to serve on the Commission by virtue of their education, training, activism or experience, particularly in the field of African-American studies and reparatory justice.

(b) Terms.—The term of office for members shall be for the life of the Commission. A vacancy in the Commission shall not affect the powers of the Commission and shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made.

(c) First Meeting.—The President shall call the first meeting of the Commission within 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act or within 30 days after the date on which legislation is enacted making appropriations to carry out this Act, whichever date is later.

(d) Quorum.—Seven members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number may hold hearings.

(e) Chair And Vice Chair.—The Commission shall elect a Chair and Vice Chair from among its members. The term of office of each shall be for the life of the Commission.

(f) Compensation.—(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), each member of the Commission shall receive compensation at the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay payable for GS–18 of the General Schedule under section 5332 of title 5, United States Code, for each day, including travel time, during which he or she is engaged in the actual performance of duties vested in the Commission.
(2) A member of the Commission who is a full-time officer or employee of the United States or a Member of Congress shall receive no additional pay, allowances, or benefits by reason of his or her service to the Commission.

(3) All members of the Commission shall be reimbursed for travel, subsistence, and other necessary expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties to the extent authorized by chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code.

(a) Hearings And Sessions.—The Commission may, for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act, hold such hearings and sit and act at such times and at such places in the United States, and request the attendance and testimony of such witnesses and the production of such books, records, correspondence, memoranda, papers, and documents, as the Commission considers appropriate. The Commission may invoke the aid of an appropriate United States district court to require, by subpoena or otherwise, such attendance, testimony, or production.

(b) Powers Of Subcommittees And Members.—Any subcommittee or member of the Commission may, if authorized by the Commission, take any action which the Commission is authorized to take by this section.

(c) Obtaining Official Data.—The Commission may acquire directly from the head of any department, agency, or instrumentality of the executive branch of the Government, available information which the Commission considers useful in the discharge of its duties. All departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the executive branch of the Government shall cooperate with the Commission with respect to such information and shall furnish all information requested by the Commission to the extent permitted by law.

(a) Staff.—The Commission may, without regard to section 5311(b) of title 5, United States Code, appoint and fix the compensation of such personnel as the Commission considers appropriate.

(b) Applicability Of Certain Civil Service Laws.—The staff of the Commission may be appointed without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, and without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates, except that the compensation of any employee of the Commission may not exceed a rate equal to the annual rate of basic pay payable for GS–18 of the General Schedule under section 5332 of title 5, United States Code.

(c) Experts And Consultants.—The Commission may procure the services of experts and consultants in accordance with the provisions of section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code, but at rates for individuals not to exceed the daily equivalent of the highest rate payable under section 5332 of such title.

(d) Administrative Support Services.—The Commission may enter into agreements with the Administrator of General Services for procurement of financial and administrative services necessary for the discharge of the duties of the Commission. Payment for such services shall be made by reimbursement from funds of the Commission in such amounts as may be agreed upon by the Chairman of the Commission and the Administrator.

(e) Contracts.—The Commission may—
(1) procure supplies, services, and property by contract in accordance with applicable laws and regulations and to the extent or in such amounts as are provided in appropriations Acts; and

(2) enter into contracts with departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the Federal Government, State agencies, and private firms, institutions, and agencies, for the conduct of research or surveys, the preparation of reports, and other activities necessary for the discharge of the duties of the Commission, to the extent or in such amounts as are provided in appropriations Acts.
The Commission shall terminate 90 days after the date on which the Commission submits its report to the Congress under section 3(c).
To carry out the provisions of this Act, there are authorized to be appropriated $12,000,000.